Open Thread: Which Movies Are So Confusing They Make Your Brain Hurt?

Kourtney Kardashian wait what GIF(via)

For today’s open thread, I want to know which movies you’ve seen that made your brain hurt afterward. That doesn’t even necessarily mean that you didn’t like the movie, just that it made you feel like it was using your smarts like a punching bag and you couldn’t get away.

For example, it could be some garbage pile like Lucy, that just made so little sense and had so many plot holes that if you look directly at it, the entire story line would collapse. Or maybe something like Mementowhere every thirty seconds you find yourself picking up the remote to pause and turning to the person next to you going, “Are we supposed to understand this yet??”

Or it could be a critically-acclaimed movie like Inceptionwhich I was pretty confident I understood until the moment I left the theater. As long as I didn’t think too hard about it, all the details were carefully organized inside my head, but it was such a delicate house of cards that as soon as I tried to explain it to someone who didn’t see it, I was just shouting “OUR WHOLE LIFE IS A DREAM PROBABLY, OR I DON’T KNOW KICK MY CHAIR OVER AND SEE IF THE TOP IS SPINNING.”

Top spinning in Inception GIF(via)

Or it could even be a movie that was completely perfect except for one little error that’s going to bother you for the rest of your days, just like the mistake in Harry Potter that will consume me until my death. Make sense? What do you have to add?

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    • Jenni

      Transcendence. The science was Lucy-levels of WTF. Also Morgan Freeman wore a bucket hat the whole time.

    • Samantha Escobar

      Um…this is embarrassing, but The Lake House. I suspect it’s because there were actual flaws in the plot, but also the time travel bullshit confused me.

      • Jenni


      • Alexis Rhiannon

        I’ve never seen it, but I love talking about it SO MUCH. I don’t know why every time traveler doesn’t communicate via mailbox, it makes so much more sense.

      • Maria Guido

        Yeah. That bullshit mailbox letter time-travel portal is the worst idea, ever.

      • Bethany Ramos

        Hahaha agree.

      • NYCNanny

        This just made me burst out laughing. Thank you!!!!

    • M_G

      The Happening. To this day, the best I can describe this movie is, “I don’t know….the trees and the grass get pissed off at mankind and form an alliance with the wind and somehow create and spread this toxin that makes everyone suicidal. Except for Mark Wahlberg, who outsmarts nature.”

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        I’ve never seen it, but this sounds amazing.

        …ly bad.

      • Samantha Escobar

        I fell asleep, literally.

    • capoupascap

      Inside Man with Clive Owen, Denzel Washington, and Jodie Foster. How did they even know about the Nazi diamonds being held at the bank? It seemed to be a pretty well kept secret. But seriously if somebody has the answer please enlighten me!

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Oh nooooo I have to watch it again, because I think I liked it the first time! Although now that I’m thinking of it, why would Clive Owen even bother with that diamond hand-off at the end?

      • capoupascap

        The first time I watched it I liked it but was confused so I kept rewatching it hoping to clear up my confusion and now I find the multiple unanswered questions irritating and I can’t like it anymore. I don’t need everything neatly tied up but at least clear up some of the more puzzling aspects.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Totally agreed.

    • Tpce

      A little older… Donnie Darko. Still not sure what was going on at the end of the movie with the whole time travel/premonitions. I need to watch it again.

      • Alexandra Mitchell

        This one for sure. I remember thinking, “Yeah, I’m with the story.” And then it ended, and I was like, “Wait, what the eff?” Great cinematography though.

      • Olivia Wilson


      • Rachel

        JUST ABOUT TO POST THIS! Gahhhh that movieeee o_O

    • Jessieface

      The Tree of Life, I am not artsy or deep enough to get it, I guess.

      • Tpce

        I think it was meant to show the creation of life from the beginning of time to the end… I not certain on that but I am sure I did not like the movie.

      • Jenni

        I didn’t see it because I knew I wouldn’t get it and then I would feel stupid.

    • LaLa

      The Fountain. I remember watching it in the theater and being totally confused. During the scene where all the vines start growing out of Hugh Jackman’s body my friend turned to me and just silently mouthed, “what the fuck?” After it was over we left and didn’t talk about it at all because we had no idea what we had just watched.

    • Cyn Nickel

      Total Recall – 2012 – with Colin Farrell. Still confusing whether the whole movie was a dream or not, because of the tattoo on his hand at the end. Headache.

    • NYCNanny

      I heart huckabees. Fav movie. I get something different out of it every time I view it.

    • Nbl

      Twilight because I don’t understand how it could be so popular. Also Dude, Where’s My Car? I was VERY high when I saw it and haven’t watched it sober, so there’s that. And Momento.

    • Rachel

      I’m embarrassed enough that I watched this, but Winter’s Tale with Colin Farrell & Jessica Brown Findlay. It made zero sense and there was a surprise Will Smith (he was playing the devil – literally). To this day, I still have no idea what I watched.

      • Jenni

        OMG OMG OMG. I’m so jealous. It looked so insanely ridiculous that I wanted to see it. It’s just Colin riding a horse through time, right?

      • Rachel

        Like a literal flying horse with invisible wings. And Jennifer Connelly is in the movie towards the end and when she rides this flying horse with him for the first time her reaction is just like, “hey this is a normal day, nothing weird happening here.” So calm about it.

      • NYCNanny

        Omg yes. I watched the entire thing being filmed (a LOT of it was filmed in park slope, bk), and even met a fee of the actors. So I had to watch it. Has super high hopes. Ehhhh. Kinda silly. None of the characters were worth really caring about. I’m sure the novel is great, because they scan get into more detail (like WTF was up with baby Colin being put into a Moses-esque basket to float to shore…?)

    • Olivia Wilson

      I think Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind tripped me up. I saw it a long time ago though, so maybe I’m a little bit better at using my brain and would fare better if I tried again.

      • NYCNanny

        Top 5 fav movies. Watch it again as an adult. Crazy romantic. And amazing acting on everyone’s part (especially Kirsten d even though her role was kinda minor.)

      • Olivia Wilson

        Thanks, I will totally take your advice and re-watch it!

    • Silja3208

      Waking Life by Richard Linklater for me. I haven’t watched it all the way through but what I did see made me want to slam my head against a wall. By no means do I think Linklater is a bad writer or director – hell I really like the Before-trilogy – but movies like Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly beats the living shit out of my brain and my eyes. Waking Life hurts to watch and the dialogues are all philosophical and most of the time it comes off as pretty pretentious. It’s making simple ideas harder to understand because the dialogues are so convoluted and laced with academic terms.
      When you break it down, it’s pretty easy to understand the points of every conversation in the movie, but it is almost written in a way where it flat out tells you it’s smarter than you are and if your head hurts because of it, it’s because you are a dumb sheep.

    • MCR

      2001: A Space Odyssey. I love everything by Kubrick, but I still haven’t figured this one out, and I don’t believe people who claim they have.

      Angel Heart technically does reveal what’s going on, but only in the last two minutes of the film, if you’re still paying attention by then.

      Also a weird little experimental movie called Keyhole. Not only can’t you tell what it’s about, but you can’t be sure which parts are supposed to be real, which are dream or fantasy sequences, and which are little metaphorical scenes that aren’t part of the actual story at all. I can’t even provide a description of the movie that isn’t confusing.

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